Monday, 20 August 2012

swing along.....

We're always looking for new and interesting ways to use l'Espace, our great studio space and accommodation and last week it was our great privilege to host a group of 14 inner city young people, aged between 14-20, and regular members of an amazing London based charity called The Islington Community Theatre, established by a truly incredible young man, Ned Glasier, in October 2008 as an after school club. 

working together...

Their 8-day stay with us allowed the company of youngsters, led by six staff members, to explore new ideas for plays and projects and to  work on a new play whilst cooking together, playing games in the evening, building playwriting skills, practicing early morning yoga and cooling down in the swimming pools.   We can truthfully say they were a pleasure to have around, absolutely no demands or  tantrums, homesickness or whinges; and we even managed to join in the fun from time to time

To give you an idea of what went on, here is a page from Ned's diary:

Sometimes you become so absorbed in a place and a time that you start to forget that the rest of the world exists.  That's a pretty good way to sum up our first few days here at L'Espace, the barn which has been our home since last Friday.  

It has been the most magical time so far - a wonderful, kind, committed group of young people; real progress on a new play that we're researching and developing; a location so beautiful and special that every now and again you stop and just stare, surprised again that you're actually here.
The days start with breakfast - bread and jam, cereal, fruit, coffee and tea.  Ella Macfadyen, who was here for the first three days, taught us a simple yoga routine and every morning Sophie Thomas, one of our young people, leads us through it in silence on the terrace overlooking the fields.  For the first three days we worked on the new play, provisionally called The Centre, all day - broken only by trips to the pool, games of table tennis and lunch.  And in the evening there are ridiculous games, activities and fun.

I have never spent so much time with a group of young people, have never been able to get to know them so well and understand what drives them and makes them think, laugh or cry.  Not that we had any tears at all - and not a fight or even a cross word spoken by anyone.  
The name of the converted barn that we stayed and worked in is L'Espace and space is exactly what it gave us - space to work and think and get to know each other in a very special and life-changing way.  That space will have a huge impact on our work in the months and years ahead.

.... showing the kids how to jive, 50s style.....


  1. how gorgeous. what a great way to use this lovely space. congrats!


  2. What freshness to fill the space with, the images are joyful. What next, I wonder??

  3. How absolutely wonderful. It's amazing what the place that you and Mike have created is capable of. Wish it wasn't such a long long time until my next visit.